Yannian Zhu

Associate Professor


Career Overview

In recent years, mainly engaged in atmospheric physics and satellite cloud microphysics parameters retrieval algorithms research. The research fields mainly focus on aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions, satellite retrieval of cloud microphysical parameters, satellite quantitative application and other aspects. Currently, I am the PI of two general projects of the National Natural Science Foundation of China and participated in 5 national level projects as a key participant and obtained 4 software copyright registrations. My research focuses on the cloud-mediated aerosol radiative forcing, which is widely recognized as a major source of uncertainty in our knowledge of the anthropogenic forcing on climate. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report states that the uncertainty in aerosol forcing (aerosol radiation interaction and aerosol cloud interaction) plays a major role in the uncertainty of total net anthropogenic forcing. Quantifying the radiative effect at global scale requires (1) global measurements of cloud condensation nuclei (CCN) in cloudy boundary layer and cloud base updraft from space simultaneously, and (2) disentangling the effects of aerosols from the thermodynamic and meteorological effects on clouds. Therefore, my research mainly including two directions: 1) Satellite retrieval of convective cloud properties and their applications in aerosol-cloud interactions; 2) Satellite retrieval of Marine shallow clouds properties and their application in aerosol-cloud interactions.

 Ph.D.Global Environment Change, College of Global Change and Earth System Science. Beijing Normal University, China
 M.Sc.Advanced Studies Master of Science in Earth Observation. K.U. Leuven, Belgium
 B.Sc.Geographical Information System Northwest University, China
 2002 - 2021 Laboratory of Cloud-Precipitation Physics, research filed: cloud physics. Meteorological Institute of Shaanxi province
 2021 - PresentProfessor (Associate) School of Atmospheric Sciences, Nanjing University
Research Interests

  Satellite retrieval
  Aerosol-Cloud-Precipitation interaction

Teaching Interests

  Satellite Meteorology

Selected Publications


1. Cao, Y., Zhu, Y*., Wang, M., Rosenfeld, D., Liang, Y., Liu, J., ... & Bai, H. (2023). Emission reductions significantly reduce the hemispheric contrast in cloud droplet number concentration in recent two decades. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 128(2), e2022JD037417.

2. Liu, J., Zhu, Y*., Wang, M., Rosenfeld, D., & Cao, Y. (2023). Marine warm cloud fraction decreases monotonically with rain rate for fixed vertical and horizontal cloud sizes. Geophysical Research Letters, 50(3), e2022GL101680.

3. Xu, X., Zeng, Y., Yu, X., Liu, G., Yue, Z., Dai, J., ... & Zhu, Y*. (2023). Identification of Supercooled Cloud Water by FY-4A Satellite and Validation by CALIPSO and Airborne Detection. Remote Sensing, 15(1), 126.

4. Zeng, Y., Wang, M., Zhao, C., Zhu, Y., Rosenfeld, D., & Huang, K. E. (2023). Extremely High Concentrations of Ice Particles in East Asian Dust‐Infused Baroclinic Storm (DIBS) Cirrus Shield: Dominant Role of Dust Ice Nucleation Effect. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, e2022JD038034.

5. Zhao, D., Wang, M., Rosenfeld, D., Chen, B., Liu, D., Wu, X., ... & Ding, D. (2023). Aircraft observation of fast initiation of mixed phase precipitation in convective cloud over the Tibetan Plateau. Atmospheric Research, 106627.

before 2023


Hu, S., Zhu, Y*., Rosenfeld, D., Mao, F., Lu, X., Pan, Z., ... & Gong, W. (2021). The Dependence of Ship‐Polluted Marine Cloud Properties and Radiative Forcing on Background Drop Concentrations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 126(7), e2020JD033852.

2.Wang, Y., Zhu*, Y., Wang, M., Rosenfeld, D., Gao, Y., Yao, X., ... & Wang, J. (2021). Validation of satellite-retrieved CCN based on a cruise campaign over the polluted Northwestern Pacific ocean. Atmospheric Research, 105722.
3.Lu, X., Mao, F., Rosenfeld, D., Zhu, Y*., Pan, Z., & Gong, W. (2021). Satellite retrieval of cloud base height and geometric thickness of low-level cloud based on CALIPSO. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Discussions, 1-26.
4.Rosenfeld, D¶., Zhu Y¶., Wang M., Zheng Y., Goren T., & Yu S. (2019), Aerosol-driven droplet concentrations dominate coverage and water of oceanic low-level clouds, Science, 363(6427), eaav0566. (¶ equally contribution)
5.Zhu, Y., Rosenfeld, D., & Li, Z. (2018). Under what conditions can we trust retrieved cloud drop concentrations in broken marine stratocumulus? Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, DOI: 10.1029/2017JD028083
6.Zhu, Y., Rosenfeld, D., Yu, X., & Li, Z. (2015). Separating aerosol microphysical effects and satellite measurement artifacts of the relationships between warm rain onset height and aerosol optical depth. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 120(15), 7726-7736.
7.Zhu, Y., Rosenfeld, D., Yu, X., Liu, G., Dai, J., & Xu, X. (2014). Satellite retrieval of convective cloud base temperature based on the NPP/VIIRS Imager. Geophysical Research Letters, 41(4)
8.Zheng, C., Zhao, C*., Zhu, Y*., Wang, Y., Shi, X., Wu, X., ... & Qiu, Y. (2017). Analysis of influential factors for the relationship between PM2.5 and AOD in Beijing. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 17(21), 13473-13489.
9.Zheng, Y., Zhu, Y., Rosenfeld, D., & Li, Z. (2021). Climatology of marine shallow-cloud-top radiative cooling. Earth and Space Science Open Archive ESSOAr.
10.Cao, Y., Wang, M., Rosenfeld, D., Zhu, Y., Liang, Y., Liu, Z., & Bai, H. (2021). Strong Aerosol Effects on Cloud Amount Based on Long‐Term Satellite Observations Over the East Coast of the United States. Geophysical Research Letters, 48(6), e2020GL091275.
11.Hu, J., Rosenfeld, D., Zhu, Y., Lu, X., & Carlin, J. (2021). Multi-channel Imager Algorithm (MIA): A novel cloud-top phase classification algorithm. Atmospheric Research, 105767.
12.Pan, Z., Rosenfeld, D., Zhu, Y., Mao, F., Gong, W., Zang, L., & Lu, X. (2021). Observational Quantification of Aerosol Invigoration for Deep Convective Cloud Lifecycle Properties Based on Geostationary Satellite. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 126(9), e2020JD034275.
13.Liu, Z., Wang, M., Rosenfeld, D., Zhu, Y., Bai, H., Cao, Y., & Liang, Y. (2020). Evaluation of cloud and precipitation response to aerosols in WRF‐Chem with satellite observations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 125(18), e2020JD033108.
14.Wang, J., Yue, Z., Rosenfeld, D., Zhang, L., Zhu, Y., Dai, J., ... & Li, J. (2021). The Evolution of an AgI Cloud‐Seeding Track in Central China as Seen by a Combination of Radar, Satellite, and Disdrometer Observations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 126(11), e2020JD033914.
15.Zang, L., Rosenfeld, D., Mao, F., Pan, Z., Zhu, Y., Gong, W., & Wang, Z. (2021). CALIOP retrieval of droplet effective radius accounting for cloud vertical homogeneity. Optics Express, 29(14), 21921-21935.
16.Efraim,A., Rosenfeld, D*., Schmale,J., Zhu, Y., Satellite retrieval of cloud condensation nuclei concentrations in marine stratocumulus by using clouds as CCN chambers. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Accepted.
17.Fan, C., Wang, M., Rosenfeld, D., Zhu, Y., Liu, J., & Chen, B. (2020). Strong Precipitation Suppression by Aerosols in Marine Low Clouds. Geophysical Research Letters.
18.Liu, C., Wang, T., Rosenfeld, D., Zhu, Y., Yue, Z., Yu, X., ... & Niu, S. (2020). Anthropogenic effects on Cloud condensation nuclei distribution and rain initiation in East Asia. Geophysical Research Letters, 47(2), e2019GL086184.
19.Mehmood, K., Wu, Y., Wang, L., Yu, S., Liu, P., Chen, X., Zhu, Y.,... & Wang, Y. (2020). Relative effects of open biomass burning and open crop straw burning on haze formation over central and eastern China: modeling study driven by constrained emissions. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 20(4), 2419-2443.
20.Yue, Z., Yu, X., Liu, G., Dai, J., Zhu, Y., Xu, X., ... & Chen, C. (2019). Microphysical properties of convective clouds in summer over the Tibetan Plateau from SNPP/VIIRS satellite data. Journal of Meteorological Research, 33(3), 433-445.
21.Zheng, Y., Rosenfeld, D., Zhu, Y., & Li, Z. (2019). Satellite‐based estimation of cloud top radiative cooling rate for marine stratocumulus. Geophysical Research Letters, 46(8), 4485-4494.
22.Lu, X., Mao, F., Pan, Z., Gong, W., Zhu, Y., & Yang, J. (2019). Enhancement of Atmospheric Stability by Anomalous Elevated Aerosols during winter in China. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres.
23.Yue, Z., Rosenfeld, D., Liu, G., Dai, J., Yu, X., Zhu, Y., . . . Lauer, O. (2019). Automated Mapping of Convective Clouds (AMCC) Thermodynamical, Microphysical and CCN Properties from SNPP/VIIRS Satellite Data. Journal of applied meteorology and climatology. 1308-1313.
24.Guo, P., Yu, S., Wang, L., Li, P., Li, Z., Mehmood, K., Chen, X., Liu, W., Zhu, Y., Yu, X. & Alapaty, K. (2019). High-altitude and long-range transport of aerosols causing regional severe haze during extreme dust storms explains why afforestation does not prevent storms. Environmental Chemistry Letters, 17(3), 1333-1340.
25.Rosenfeld, D., Zheng, Y., Hashimshoni, E., Pöhlker, M. L., Jefferson, A., Pöhlker, C., Xing Yu., Zhu, Y.,... & Fischman, B. (2016). Satellite retrieval of cloud condensation nuclei concentrations by using clouds as CCN chambers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(21), 5828-5834.
26.Rosenfeld, D., Liu, G., Yu, X., Zhu, Y., Dai, J., Xu, X., & Yue, Z. (2014). High-resolution (375 m) cloud microstructure as seen from the NPP/VIIRS satellite imager. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 14(5), 2479-2496.
27.Rosenfeld, D., Yu, X., Liu, G., Xu, X., Zhu, Y., Yue, Z., ... & Peng, Y. (2011). Glaciation temperatures of convective clouds ingesting desert dust, air pollution and smoke from forest fires. Geophysical Research Letters, 38(21).
28.Y. Zhu, J. Van Orshoven and B. Bossyns, 2007. DEFINITION of HRU (Hydrological Response Unit) using Area Fraction Images derived from Spectral Unmixing. Submitted for the 4th International SWAT (Soil and Water Assessment Tools) conference, July 2007.
1.2021: The 13th 'Shaanxi Young Pioneers of Science and Technology' (1 of 15 in Shaanxi province)
2.2021: The 13th Shaanxi Youth Science and Technology Award (1 of 100 in Shaanxi province)
3.2016: Shaanxi Provincial science and technology award, third prize (ranking 3);
4.2013: Shaanxi Provincial Agricultural Technology and Application award, second prize (ranking 6);
5.2013: Shaanxi Provincial science and technology award, second prize (ranking 8)
6.2012: Shaanxi Provincial Science and technology award, third prize, (ranking 6);
7.2012: Shaanxi Provincial Agricultural Technology and Application award, first prize (ranking 11);
8.2010: Shaanxi Provincial Agricultural Technology and Application award, second prize (ranking 7);
9.2018: The deputy chief scientific and technical experts of Shaanxi Meteorological Bureau;
10.2015: The young talents of Shaanxi Meteorological Bureau;
11.2014: The Young talents in Shaanxi Province;
12.2008: Outstanding scientific/technical work on the occasion of the MARS project 20th Anniversary (1988-2008). IPSC, JRC;

  Co-supervising of 1 Ph.D. student (Xin Lu), 2 MS student (Shuang Hu; Xin Wang) Wuhan University (2019-present).
  Co-supervising of 1 MS student (Yang Cao) Nanjing University (2019-present).
  Co-supervising of 1 PHD student (Yichuan Wang) Nanjing University (2019-present).
  Co-advising a postdoc Zengxin Pan with Dr. Rosenfeld (2019-present). Research topic: ‘aerosol effects on deep convective system and its radiative effect’.
  Peer-review project reviewer: Natural Science Foundation of China.
  Peer-review journal reviewer: Geophysical Research Letters, Journal of Geophysical Research – Atmosphere, Atmospheric Research, Scientific Report, Atmospheric chemistry and physics.

Grants and Proposals
2021.01-2024.12Study of aerosol indirect effects of polluted east Asia marine low clouds by satellite observations. Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (PI)
2016.01-2019.12Observation and Simulation of topographic precipitation mechanism in Qinling Mountains. Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (PI)
2018.12-2021.12Research on basic theory and numerical model technology of weather modification / Hail Storm Project. Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Participants)
2015.10-2018.09Quantifying aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions in China and Israel. Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) (Participants)
2013.01-2017.12Observation and Application of precipitation profiles in Qinba Mountains. Ministry of Science and Technology of China
2014.01-2019.12The Third Tibetan Plateau Atmospheric Scientific Experiment - satellite retrieval of cloud properties sub-project. Ministry of Science and Technology of China
2014.01-presentStudy on the potential and technology of cloud artificial precipitation enhancement in South China - satellite retrieval of cloud properties and microphysical structure sub-project. Ministry of Science and Technology of China

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  • Atmospheric Sciences Building
    Nanjing University · Xianlin Campus
    163 Xianlin Road, Qixia District
    Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, 210023